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1997 Ford Ranger 2.3 —> 85 Mustang SVO 2.3 Turbo

Ashton1031

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Charleston SC
Vehicle Year
1997
Make / Model
Ford Ranger XLT
Transmission
Manual
Hey guys just looking for some input on my project truck. It’s a 1997 ford ranger 2.3 2wd manual single cab. Going to lift it 4.5-6” and put 33”s and buying new boat to tow behind it. Just recently purchased 1985 mustang svo 2.3 turbo with wiring harness ecu and all accessories. I’m aware the ecu you needs to be repinned for my harness but does any one know of any other unforeseen mods that I may have to make? Also if I deleted the catalytic converter and ran 3” down pipe to 2.5” duals with a high flow muffler in the rear would I have codes popping up? What do I do with 02 sensors at that point? Regearing rear end with 8.8 4.10 or 4.56 not sure yet? Engine has some stuff done to it and is pushing 190 HP now also plan on getting new headers, installing booster controller and redoing the air intake any other easy mods to increase HP?
Any and all help is greatly appreciated!!
 


franklin2

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I had a 85.5 svo (the 205hp version) and it had the stock down pipe with the cat and no mufflers and I had no check engine light. Though I am not sure the early fuel injected systems even had a check engine light.

Not sure what your laws are in SC, but if I were doing this conversion in Va I would keep the cat converter, believe me you will have plenty of power with it still on there, and I would need it to pass inspection in Va.

You should already have a factory boost controller, mine had the fuel switch on the center console. When you are running 87 octane, it let the 10lb spring in the waste gate control the boost to 10lb. When you ran high octane fuel and flipped the switch on the console, mine had a bleed off solenoid on the line going to the waste gate, and the computer would buzz the solenoid and bleed off boost pressure to the waste gate till you got to almost 15lbs boost. I guess if you want more boost you could insert a aftermarket controller to do what the factory did, but I would not do it, especially if you are going to tow with it. My factory manual specifically said no towing with this engine. It can handle short bursts of power for short periods of time, but I bet the engine won't be able to handle long periods under boost while pulling a trailer.

I also had to change the clutch in mine, and that little engine takes a special clutch since it has so much power, but the flywheel is so small. Summit racing happened to carry the clutch for it during the day (this was back in the 90's) but I don't know if they are still available or not. That is one of the reasons I got rid of the car. It was a neat car with a lot of power, but it had many oddball parts to it that were getting harder to get, and I was daily driving it and watching it go downhill, so I saw the writing on the wall and sold it.
 

Ashton1031

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Charleston SC
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1997
Make / Model
Ford Ranger XLT
Transmission
Manual
I had a 85.5 svo (the 205hp version) and it had the stock down pipe with the cat and no mufflers and I had no check engine light. Though I am not sure the early fuel injected systems even had a check engine light.

Not sure what your laws are in SC, but if I were doing this conversion in Va I would keep the cat converter, believe me you will have plenty of power with it still on there, and I would need it to pass inspection in Va.

You should already have a factory boost controller, mine had the fuel switch on the center console. When you are running 87 octane, it let the 10lb spring in the waste gate control the boost to 10lb. When you ran high octane fuel and flipped the switch on the console, mine had a bleed off solenoid on the line going to the waste gate, and the computer would buzz the solenoid and bleed off boost pressure to the waste gate till you got to almost 15lbs boost. I guess if you want more boost you could insert a aftermarket controller to do what the factory did, but I would not do it, especially if you are going to tow with it. My factory manual specifically said no towing with this engine. It can handle short bursts of power for short periods of time, but I bet the engine won't be able to handle long periods under boost while pulling a trailer.

I also had to change the clutch in mine, and that little engine takes a special clutch since it has so much power, but the flywheel is so small. Summit racing happened to carry the clutch for it during the day (this was back in the 90's) but I don't know if they are still available or not. That is one of the reasons I got rid of the car. It was a neat car with a lot of power, but it had many oddball parts to it that were getting harder to get, and I was daily driving it and watching it go downhill, so I saw the writing on the wall and sold it.
I really appreciate the reply and information. Honestly has me reconsidering doing the swap in my ranger. I would be towing about 3,000lbs maybe 10-20 round trip my big concern was having the power to pull back up with the boat loaded. Apparently the 85.5 had more technology the engine shop I would be buying it from recommended getting one for it unless they just weren’t including it. But i had done some research and the reason it’s not meant for towing I thought was the A/R on the factory T3 turbo it came with. I was planning on changing it out for something with low end power. Idk definitely questioning it now. Any recommendations for other engine swaps for a 1997 ranger 2wd that aren’t all fabrication
 

superj

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fastest and easiest might be to sell the ranger and swap to a v6 ranger instead.

we never towed with the company i4 rangers my dad had but i bet it would have been a bummer. i actually have not towed with my 3.0 ranger either so i don't know how it does but i towed with a 4.0 explorer and it was fine.


i wonder if your 2.3 will actually have trouble though? i remember as a kid, my dad would tow our little 19 foot open bow inboard v6 ski boat to the lake a few hours away with a 71 or 72 vw van. he would load it up with our tent, the cooler, and all our camping stuff with the boat being full of all the ski and boat stuff and we would go. they lived out in the country and it was hilly but the air cooled vw van pulled the boat with two adults and three kids in it every summer when we would go visit. and i think dad used it to drive to quantico for however long he was stationed there. those old vws didn't even have 100 hp, if i remember right. i think my karmann ghia had something like 43hp so maybe the van had way less than 100.

google say the van had 63hp
 

scotts90ranger

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RBV's on Boost
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Vehicle Year
1990, 1997
Make / Model
Ford
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2.3 (4 Cylinder)
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2.3 Turbo
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Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6
Tire Size
35"
The computer on a '87 is fairly different than a '97, I'm not sure they use the same connector so this complicates things some...

I've towed stuff with my '90 turbo ranger, it works fine and it's on 35" tires with 5.13 gears... I wouldn't go crazy but it worked...
 

franklin2

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I am not sure the 2.3 will live very long under long periods of boost. I think that is what the factory was alluding to in my original SVO manual. I think they did a lot of changes and of course the engine management is a lot different on the eco boost engines which ARE designed to tow under full boost continuously for long periods. That is, the v6 versions of the eco boost are rated for that, not sure about the 4 cyl eco boost engines?
 

scotts90ranger

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RBV's on Boost
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Ford
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2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Engine Size
2.3 Turbo
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6
Tire Size
35"
The old 2.3L turbo's are ok for occasional hard long runs, the problem with the older ones was they were not intercooled... the intake temps go high and they ping like heck... mine isn't intercooled (it's on the list... it's a long list...) and it pings like heck if I stay in high boost and I have my wastegate set at like 12psi (with a ported head, before that it took 16psi to get the same amount of preignition so I'm getting more air...). I doubt anyone in their right mind anymore is trying to build a Lima 2.3L turbo for longevity and power when there's better options. I like the Lima's and will stick with them and might put a little boost to my '97 just for funzies but it's my daily driver so I don't want to go crazy...
 

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